Source: The Guardian
By Sam Jones
23 May 2012 - With nearly 500,000 people displaced, aid agencies warn that Yemen's instability will worsen unless donors increase funding. Yemen is facing a food crisis of "catastrophic proportions", with almost half the population going hungry and a third of children in some areas severely malnourished, aid agencies have warned.
A coalition of seven humanitarian organisations – Care International, International Medical Corps, Islamic Relief, Mercy Corps, Merlin, Oxfam and Save the Children – is urging the international community to step up aid before Yemen slides further into poverty and political instability.
The Middle Eastern country's already precarious state was highlighted on Monday when a suicide bomber attacked a military parade, killing more than 90 people and wounding at least 220. The bombing, one of the deadliest in recent years, was a setback in Yemen's battle against al-Qaida-affiliated Islamists and has heightened concerns over a country in the frontline of the US global war on militants.
The aid agencies – which point out that the UN's humanitarian appeal has received only 43% of the funding it needs – are urging delegates at Wednesday's international Friends of Yemen conference to do more to tackle the food crisis.
For the complete article, please see The Guardian.
By Peter Apps
3 April 2012 - Washington. This year's frenzy of oil and gas exploration in newly accessible Arctic waters could be the harbinger of even starker changes to come.
If, as many scientists predict, currently inaccessible sea lanes across the top of the world become navigable in the coming decades, they could redraw global trading routes -- and perhaps geopolitics -- forever.
This summer will see more human activity in the Arctic than ever before, with oil giant Shell engaged in major exploration and an expected further rise in fishing, tourism and regional shipping. But that, experts warn, brings with it a rising risk of environmental disaster not to mention criminal activity from illegal fishing to smuggling and terrorism.
"By bringing more human activity into the Arctic you bring both the good and the bad," Lt Gen Walter Semianiw, head of Canada Command and one of Ottawa's most senior military officers responsible for the Arctic, told an event at Washington DC think tank the Centre For Strategic and International Studies last week. "You will see the change whether you wish to or not."
With indigenous populations, researchers and military forces reporting the ice receding faster than many had expected, some estimates suggest the polar ice cap might disappear completely during the summer season as soon as 2040, perhaps much earlier.
That could slash the journey time from Europe to Chinese and Japanese ports by well over a week, possibly taking traffic from the southern Suez Canal route. But with many of those key sea routes passing through already disputed waters believed to contain much of the world's untapped energy reserves, some already fear a rising risk of confrontation.
There are fledging signs of growing cooperation -- the first ever meeting of Arctic defense chiefs in Canada later this month, joint tabletop exercises on polar search and rescue operations organized through the Arctic Council. But growing unease is also clear.
Norway and Canada, for example, have spent recent years quietly re-equipping its military and moving troops and other forces to new or enlarged bases further north.
Having largely withdrawn most of its forces from the region in the aftermath of the Cold War, officials and experts say the United States is now only just rediscovering its significance.
But for now, Washington has no concrete plans to build even a single new icebreaker -- in part because experts estimate the pricetag for a single ship could be as high as $1 billion.
For the first time, some officers worry the United States is losing its foothold as new rivals such as China prepare to muscle in.
"We are in many ways an Arctic nation without an Arctic strategy," United States Coast Guard Vice Adml Brian M Salerno told the same Washington DC event.
For the complete article, please see Reuters
By Patricia Grogg
April 26, 2012 - Havanna. As a result of climate change-related extreme weather events like a rise in the sea level and increasingly intense storms alternating with drought, Caribbean island nations are facing the challenge of adopting adaptation measures that could be too costly for their budgets.
One important message from the report is that costly investments are not needed to mitigate the effects of extreme weather events; there are other ways of dealing with the impacts that do not involve major spending on infrastructure, he told IPS.
That clarification is important because funds for climate change adaptation are scarce in this region, added the expert, who is co-chair of IPCC Working Group II: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability.
The IPCC, which was established in 1988, has published four comprehensive assessment reports reviewing the latest climate science, and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for its "efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change."
Field was in Havana to participate in a workshop held to divulge the results of the IPCC "Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation", produced as a tool for climate adaptation policy-making.
According to statistics provided in the Apr. 18-19 workshop, the rise in sea level could lead to a reduction in the size of the Caribbean islands and have a negative impact on infrastructure, including airports, roads and capital cities, which tend to be located near the coast.
More than half of the population in the region lives less than 1.5 km from the coast. Ian King, an expert from Barbados with the United Nations Development Programme Caribbean Disaster Risk Reduction Initiative (UNDP CRMI), said the first challenge is to assess the threats, in order to decide on the most suitable adaptation policies.
For the complete article please see IPS
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